Grantham

Jury shown dramatic footage of X Factor star crash

A jury has been shown dramatic footage of the moment an X Factor star crashed into another car carrying a young child on the A1.

Matt Linnen was given a suspended jail sentence after he admitted throwing items at another driver on his way home from a charity gig.

Linen had denied dangerous driving but was convicted by a jury who were shown dashcam footage of the collision.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Linnen, 30, lost his cool after he was cut up by Dominic Eaton while driving home along the A1.

The two were then involved in aggressive driving towards each other during which Linnen threw a coffee cup at Eaton’s car and then threw a packet of peanuts out of his sunroof.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said the incident started when Linnen was forced to brake sharply after being cut up and he responded by gesticulating and shouting at Eaton.

Matt Linnen outside Lincoln Crown Court. Photo: John Aron

Their vehicles almost collided and in the moments after Linnen threw the items at Eaton’s vehicle.

Then the two cars collided and left the road with Eaton’s vehicle rolling over. Eaton, and a young child in his car, escaped injury as did Linnen.

Linnen, of Westcliff on Sea, Essex, denied dangerous driving as a result of the incident on the A1 at Great Ponton, Lincolnshire, on April 30 2018 but was convicted by a jury following a trial.

He was given a six-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months with 50 hours of unpaid work.

He was banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay £1,400 prosecution costs.

Eaton, 38, of Grantham, Lincs, admitted dangerous driving.

He was given an eight month jail suspended for two years with 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £170 costs.

Recorder William Harbage QC told them: “It is only by the grace of God that nobody was hurt. The driving of both of you was appalling.”

He told Linnen “You lost the plot as much as he did. You were throwing things from your car at his car. You didn’t start this but whatever provocation there may be I regard as slight.

“You reacted to Eaton’s driving and thereafter you fully participated in a road rage incident.”

Linnen, who described himself as a builder and musician, told the jury that he was driving home from performing in a charity gig in Durham when he was cut up by Eaton who emerged from a side road onto the A1.

He said he had to slam his brakes on to avoid a collision and added “I put a thumbs up sarcastically in his direction.

“The other driver seemed to lose the plot. He was driving erratically. He must have had a bad day.

“I felt he was trying to scare me. He had already veered close to me.”

Linnen admitted throwing the coffee cup and said: “I wanted to get out of the situation but being provoked I wasn’t thinking straight.

“I was worried about what he was doing and just wanted to get away.”

Linnen said he overtook the Ford but it then began tailgating him and so he threw the peanuts out of the sunroof.

“I was trying to get rid of him. I wasn’t trying to antagonise.

“He has come up shouting at me through his passenger window then he has lost control. He caused the collision when he lost control of his car.”

Linnen admitted it was “stupid” to throw the items out of his car but argued that his driving was careless rather than dangerous.

The jury was told he had never been in trouble before and had a clean driving licence after passing his test eight years earlier.

Natalie Bird, for Linnen, said: “He accepts it was a moment of madness. He does accept he lost his temper.”